That was the conclusion of three panelists speaking on the topic at a convention in Boston
“There are a lot of areas that need to come together in standards, and we are not there yet,” said Ken Havens, a marketing manager for the systems design division of ARM.
Among competing standards groups like the IPSO Alliance, EnOcean and the Zigbee Alliance, “some of the walls are coming down around interoperability,” said Mark Grazier a product marketing manager for IoT at Texas Instruments who participates in all three groups.
“They are really starting to liaison with each other, and they quicker they do the faster this will move forward,” said Grazier.
Maturity of standards is also an issue, Grazier noted in a discussion with EE Times after the panel. For example, the Zigbee Alliance is working on IP support that IPSO already has, meanwhile IPSO is working on the breadth of support for specific device classed Zigbee has already created, he said.
Compliance with still-to-be defined security standards will also be a must, said Glenn Perry, general manager of the embedded software division at Mentor Graphics. In addition, software developers need to do a better job supporting the power-constrained client systems emerging in IoT, he said.
“There’s relatively little focus in the software development community on power optimization,” Perry said. “Software developers aren’t trained in hardware fundamentals, so the whole notion of measuring power is outside their scope and it’s a fairly complex problem,” he said.
Nevertheless, the panelists were upbeat about the long term potential of IoT as a growth driver in electronics. Both Perry and Havens shared experiences using the digital thermostats from startup Nest, and Havens said he used GPS to track the wallet he lost at the airport until it arrived at his hotel.
“We see a lot of innovation in automotive around the connected car that will drive a lot of silicon consumption, and in the consumer space I see LED lighting and other infrastructure coming on,” said Perry.
“I think lighting is the key killer app,” said Grazier of TI. “As energy prices grow, we will feel the pressure grow to manage energy use at home with low cost devices that are easy to use,” he said.
Havens said he recently counted 21 devices he owns that have an IP address. “That’s not a great pick up line,” quipped David Blaza, a vice president at UBM Electronics who moderated the panel.